LONDON, Feb 24 (IFR) - Troubled Mexican offshore oil
services company Oceanografia said on Monday it is putting
together a draft standstill agreement in a bid to give itself
more time to solve its debt problems.
On a brief conference call with investors, the company said
it had retained law firm Paul Hastings and international
advisory firm Houlihan Lokey.
The company is still waiting on a decision from investors to
accept its request for a 60-day extension of a grace period on a
missed bond coupon payment, which expired on February 14.
That USD335m bond, maturing in 2015, remains under pressure.
It fell to 34.50-39.50 on Monday after languishing around
40.00-45.00 last week, and having printed at 98.814 with an
11.25% coupon in 2008.
"Whether this (standstill agreement) is something that
prolongs the 60 days [is not clear], but it is probably some
sort of mechanism to prevent creditors from taking disruptive
action," said one investor who had been on the call.
Oceanografia's head of investor relations, Jorge Betancourt,
said the company will strive to be as transparent as possible
and communicate with creditors to the fullest degree while the
situation plays out. Another call with investors may take place
before the end of the week.
The company was not immediately available for follow-up
questions after the call.
Oceanografia is in the midst of a corruption inquiry, and
this month was handed a 21-month suspension from new government
contracts with state-owned petroleum giant Pemex. Deals with
Pemex are said to account for much, if not all, of
Without Pemex contracts, Oceanografia would have to enter
the public bidding process, which could be challenging. The
Mexican government last year pushed through energy reforms that
ended Pemex's 75-year monopoly in the sector.
Oceanografia had insisted that it will make the coupon
payment - and has pledged to sell assets to do so if needed. It
also has the option of making money by leasing its vessels to
other companies in the Gulf of Mexico and in other countries,